- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tedy Bruschi was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame on Monday night, along with longtime radio play-by-play announcer Gil Santos, with a record crowd filling the NRG Plaza outside the Hall for a sun-splashed, two-hour ceremony.
Bruschi delivered a passionate 26-minute speech in which he thanked family members, coaches, teammates and others who had a major influence on his career. He reflected back to his days as a child in San Francisco, playing football on a “community field of grass with busted sprinkler heads” that led to scraped knees, all the way to his time with the Patriots, including his comeback from a stroke.
Bruschi stressed that he didn’t play for this type of honor, but instead for championships won with a group of teammates he could count on.
“When we won [championship] hats and T-shirts, there was one in everybody’s locker; every teammate got a hat and every teammate got a T-shirt that said they did something, they accomplished something. I’m the only player up here getting a [Hall of Fame] jacket and I feel conflicted,” he said. “So I will eagerly await many of my teammates joining me up here, wearing this red jacket.”
Many Patriots alumni were present for the ceremony, including Bruschi’s former teammates Matt Light, Joe Andruzzi, Troy Brown, Ty Law and Marty Moore, among others. A personalized video from Willie McGinest was played.
Bruschi also addressed the crowd directly, highlighting his unique link with them. He said he felt the passion and pressure of Patriots fans throughout his career.
Another highlight came with coach Bill Belichick delivering remarks at the end of the ceremony, even as his team was in the midst of an evening practice.
“Tedy Bruschi is such a champion in every sense of the word. He’s the epitome of a football player, and it’s such an honor and a privilege to have coached Tedy Bruschi. Thank you, Tedy," Belichick said.
"There are great players and there are great players. Tedy Bruschi was a great, great football player because of his passion, his love and his team attitude toward the game; they were all second to none.”
Santos opened his seven-minute speech by saying, “Today, quite frankly, is the high point of my broadcast career of more than 50 years.”
Santos said he never considered calling Patriots games a job, but instead an honor. He thanked his wife of 52 years, Roberta, relaying to the crowd that they started dating when he was 19 and she was 17.
Santos said his call of the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory over the Rams was his favorite. He concluded his speech by referencing an article he read about someone who asked people about summing up their life in just six words. Santos said he thought about it, and it came to him quickly.
“I … am … a … very … lucky … man,” he said, raising his hands above the head.